Mad Men recap: No Country for Old Men

Don finally sees the writing on the wall, while Roger's sins come back to haunt him
Ep. 04 | Aired May 4, 2014

Don's setback with the bottle is another put-up or shut-up test, following his plane ride with Lee Cabot and his recent heart-to-heart with Sally. This time, he flunked -- but fortunately, Freddie is there to catch him before Don ruins his life. Freddie responds like a dedicated AA sponsor, shepherds Don out the office -- ostensibly to see a Mets game -- and gets him home safely. (Cue the internet's "Meet the Mets" Don Draper meme!)

Before Don and Freddie exit the office, Don's face darkens as he sees Lloyd the computer guy. "You talk like a friend but you're not," says Don, breathing heavy vodka into the man's face. "You go by many names but I know who you are. You don't need a campaign. You've got the best campaign since the dawn of time."

Is he the Devil incarnate? Is that what Don means? Or is he something worse: Progress, Technology, the sound of table-saws and the instrument that will make men and women like Don obsolete?

The next morning, Freddie gives Don some honest, pants-pissing truth, the truth we thought Don understood when he said "Okay" last week. After all, Freddie had warned Don about this exact professional scenario at the end of the season premiere. No doubt Freddie would've taken the job offer from Mary Wells. But now Don has to decide who he is: "Are you just going to kill yourself? Give them what they wanted?" says Freddie. "Or go in your bedroom, get in uniform, fix your bayonet, and hit the parade? Do the work, Don."

Get busy living, or get busy dying, Freddie seems to be saying. Damn right.

We get an answer the next morning. Which will it be: defiance or submission? Don's appearance is all business, and his typewriter has recovered. With Peggy standing in his doorway, he tells her, "You'll have your tags by lunch."

I don't think he's chosen submission.

Just Spitballin' Here...

- Harry Crane clearly wasn't a casualty of Don's return, as Roger had hinted last week. In fact, he's more prominent than ever, now that he has the computer at his disposal. Tonight's episode seemed to pit Don against Harry in a more existential struggle than Don's tensions with Peggy or Lou. Harry is the Future: he is television and computers. We might have to think more about this is the next three episodes.

- That television show that Harry and Lloyd were talking about was Turn-On, which was actually canceled before its first episode concluded.

- For all his failed, pathetic efforts to be like Don Draper, Peter is doing a pretty good Don-light impression in L.A., especially with Ms. Bonnie Whiteside on his arm.

- The show faded out to the Hollies "On a Carousel," which features these lyrics: "Now's my chance and I must take it / A case of do-or-die / On a carousel, on a carousel."

- There were at least two references to man's landing on the moon, an event that is just two months away on the show. How much would you like to bet the seventh episode, the cliffhanger before the show's mid-season hiatus, will include Neil Armstrong's giant leap for mankind?

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